Montezuma was awesome. I loved the beach, loved the hostel (can’t beat a cozy single room, a good Wi-Fi connection, plenty of hammocks and a daily free make-your-own pancake breakfast!), loved the hikes, loved the empty beaches and the vibes.
But I had to make my way back to San José, from where I am flying back to Canada on Wednesday. <em>C’est la vie.</em>
Considering how hard it is to get around here (buses rarely go from point A to point B), my best bet was to take the new “fast boat” to Jacó, and then the bus from Jacó to San José. Since I have already spent time in the capital, it made sense to explore Jacó and spent a couple of days there.
My expectations were low. Jacó is a resort town on the coast, by the Pacific Ocean. It was one of the first places where gringos flocked into and bought land. I had pictured a cross between Playa del Carmen, Playa Tamarindo and Cancun.
I was close enough.
The one-hour-long boat ride from Montezuma to Jacó was pretty cool. The first thing we had to do was to put our backpacks in a plastic bag. I knew we were going to get wet, plus it was a beach landing (hint: take off your shoes). Bonus: I spotted a few dolphins and manta rays.
From the beach, a minibus took all the passengers (around ten of us) to the main strip. I was the only one getting off in Jacó, everyone else was heading to Manuel Antonia.
My map of the town sucked and the addresses for the hotels were all the same: “Avenida Pastor Diaz,” basically on the main street. Problem was, where on the main street? I eventually found a small affordable place but it wasn’t easy. Jacó is expensive.
I walked the strip. Souvenir shops, fast-food joints, “gentlemen” clubs, hotels, real estate agencies… nothing really inspiring.
I walked on the beach. Beer cans were scattered on the sand and music was blasting out loud.
I considered my options. Should I run away to Puntarenas, the closest city?
I decided to check the bus schedule.
“Where are you going?”
I turned around and saw a fifty-something hippie standing behind a handmade jewellery stand.
“Puntarenas,” I replied. “I think.”
“How long have you been there?”
“A couple of hours?”
My honest reply made him laugh.
“You don’t like it here, do you?”
“No,” I confirmed.
The guy laughed. “I ain’t surprised, chica, you’re in sin city and you don’t look like sin city material!”
“Uh, thanks. So what are you doing here?” I asked.
He shrugged. “Born and raised in Saskatchewan. Then I served in Iran and Iraq. This place is slightly better.”
Great. Glad to know that I was staying in a town rated just above Iraq by a veteran who looked like Big Foot at Woodstock.
“Have you been to the beach?”
“Skip that one. Go to Playa Hermosa. Grab a drink, pretend nothing you see exists and you’ll be fine. Oh, by the way,” he added. “It gets worse after dark.”
Feng always tell me that sometime, I’m too negative. That I rush too much, that I should slow down, and give places a chance.
I decided to give Jacó a chance. What else was I going to do?
I walked on the main strip once again, taking pictures of the fast-food joints and their local combos, instead of being annoyed by them. I went back to the beach, where I saw an amazing sunset. I ordered my casado (usual dish of rice, beans, fish and salad) to go and headed to the movie theatre, where I watched The Family.
By the time the movie ended, the hookers were presumably home… ahem, I mean in some hotel room, somewhere, and most businesses were closed.
I had a sudden craving for a chocobanano (an entire banana dipped in chocolate and frozen) but I couldn’t find any place selling them so I went back to the hotel, knowing I had “survived” my first night in Jacó.